Learn How to Style a Dining Room That You and Your Guests Will Love

10 Elements to Design the Perfect Dining Room

Learn How to Style a Dining Room That You and Your Guests Will Love

Creating beautiful dining rooms are some of my personal favorite projects. When we have a spot to relax with friends and family over good food, the conversation flows and the memories are made. We share an intimate look in to our lives, and have the opportunity to treat our guests with our charming Southern Hospitality. To me, the dining room is the heart of the home.

Not Sure How to Create a Beautiful Dining Room?

It’s easy when you know what pieces to include and how to pull them all together. The first task is to DEFINE YOUR STYLE.

Do you know the “look” you’d to achieve? Do you already own some of the necessary pieces or will you be starting from scratch? How do you need the room to function for your family and friends? Have you determined a budget, then broken it down by piece? Creating the perfect Dining Room will allow you to relax and enjoy your time around the table and feel the Ultimate Hostess. Here I’ve listed 10 Elements that will help you pull your room together easily:

#1 – The Table & Chairs

This is the MOST important part of the entire room!! And my motto is GO BIG. As large as the room will allow. At a minimum you’ll want 3 feet of space all around the table, but up to 6 feet is preferable.

Do you want a pedestal round table? A long, formal table? A smaller table with leaves that can be removed? Where will you store them when they aren’t in use? A rustic farm table? A painted base with a wood top?

I love these chairs from Hannah Dee Interiors

Seating is important too. Your chairs will help define the style of your room. While you don’t have to completely “match” a set of chairs to the table or to each other, you should definitely work with a cohesive theme and try to have pairs of chairs. Not too comfortable, not too uncomfortable. Do you want upholstered seats or solid surface? Parsons chairs or ladderbacks or Windsors?

A round table can be so intimate. I love this entire dining room, complete with seating for 12. Photo source unknown.

#2 – A Staging Area

Usually this is a buffet, sideboard, or other furniture that allows you to set out a dessert buffet, a coffee bar, wine glasses, etc.

Having it handy in the dining room allows guests, as well as you the Hostess, to remain part of the conversation and not have to leave the room to refill a drink, but keeps the tabletop less cluttered during conversation.

It also allows a beautiful display area in your Dining Room when it’s not in use. If your dining area has space, a Staging area is a must. If not, try a small table with a coordinated tablecloth that is set up only for special events.

This was a dining room I did for a client in Singers Glen, VA. Photo copyright Bluestone Decorating.

Photo Courtesy Hannah Dee Interiors

#3 – Storage

A place for everything, and everything in its place. You will not want every dish on display at all times. You need a place for Grandma’s crystal punch bowl and your cake knife set. Having a spot to store a few of your extra serving pieces will make your life easier. Whenever possible, I try to combine the Storage with the Staging piece so they serve double-duty.

This Pewter Cupboard not only serves as storage but allows the homeowner to display her dishes, with the ability to change them seasonally. Photo copyright Crystal Ortiz, Bluestone Decorating.

#4 – Lighting

This casual home in Penn Laird mixes family heirloom furniture with a traditional-style chandelier. Photo and design copyright Crystal Ortiz, Bluestone Decorating

This is so important. Lighting will set the mood, especially in a dining room. When choosing a chandelier for your dining table, you should look for one that is one-half to one-third the length and width of your table.

If possible, have a dimmer switch installed by your electrician so you can turn the lighting “up” or “down” for the mood. I also love including a couple of lamps or sconces in a dining room for ambient lighting.

And of course, a few candles on a dinner tabletop bring that much more to the table.

This stunning chandelier sets the more formal tone of the dining room in this custom log home. Photo copyright Crystal Ortiz, Bluestone Decorating

#5 – Protect Your Floors

I prefer an area rug under a dining room table. It grounds and defines the space, while at the same time protects the floors from being scratched by the chairs.

My rule-of-thumb for a rug under a dining table is that it needs to extend 3 feet on every side of the table, so when a chair is pulled out and someone is sitting in it, all four legs of the chair stay on the rug.

The easiest way to determine your rug size is to measure your table, then add 6 feet to both dimensions.

A new rug that pulls the color palette together, as well as newly recovered seat cushions with Kasmir fabric. This was a project I did in Singers Glen, Virginia

If you prefer to not have a rug and want to protect your floors, any hardware store sells small felt pads that can be attached to the bottom of the chair & table feet. I prefer those to the hard metal plastic ones that are hammered in to the bottom of the feet, as I have seen those scratch the floor.

#6 – Color

Color can make a HUGE impact on mood, atmosphere, and appetite. It is said that RED stimulates the appetite, while BLUE suppresses it. You see many red dining rooms for this reason.

Drama can easily be created with color. These red parsons chairs and the blue & white custom windows are beautiful together. Source: HGTV

Personally, I go with blue, creams, or beiges. This is a choice that is made furnishings as well. Oak tables look great against a sage or olive green with brown accents. Red and black are dramatic. A shade of Williamsburg Blue with yellow is classic.

Ivory is great for a traditional style. White looks wonderful during the daylight, but can take on a grayish cast at night. Knowing your personality, style, and ultimate goal of the room helps determine the best color palette for your dining room.

This stunning dining room was featured in a post on Homebunch. I love the blues, the mix of fabrics on the chairs, windows, and rug. This is a dream dining room to me.          Original source unknown

Fresh for spring, and anytime in between. These green striped chairs are classic and tailored. LOVE this look! Source: Luxury Furniture & Design

#7 – Acoustics

This is so often overlooked. Not long ago, I visited a restaurant in Downtown Harrisonburg that had been remodeled from an old warehouse into industrial-style décor.

The acoustics were horrible! You couldn’t hear the person across the table speaking due to the roar in the room.

Adding rugs, drapes, upholstered seats, and small accents to absorb sound will make the dining experience much more enjoyable for you as well as your guests.

The use of fabrics on the chairs and windows, combined with the rug, are key to keeping conversations from “bouncing” around the room. Soft items help absorb sound and will make conversation at the table much easier. Source: How to Decorate from Ballard Designs

#8 – The Centerpiece

A bit over the top for the average dinner gathering! But very cute for a baby shower. Photo credit DuJour Magazine

You don’t have to have a formal-wedding-grade centerpiece to set a beautiful table. For once in your life, I’m going to tell you to put your elbows on your table. This is your gauge for how high your centerpiece should be.

The distance from the tabletop to your wrist is the HIGHEST you should go to encourage conversation. Or, go to the other extreme, and the centerpiece should be tall enough that you can see through it until it goes above hairline level.

Don’t make the mistake of putting out a beautiful centerpiece that doesn’t allow guests to make eye contact with each other across the table.

A centerpiece doesn’t have to be just a vase of flowers. This 9′ dining room table features a small vignette and lanterns on the table runner. Photo copyright Crystal Ortiz, Bluestone Decorating.

Simple can be Superb. I love this centerpiece from Setting for Four. Copyright Heather Lockhurst.

#9 – Table Linens

Decorating is about the Lifestyle you want to live. Candlelit dinners on a warm spring evening provide food for the spirit as well as the body.

The debate rages on… tablecloth or placemats? Or both? It’s really a personal preference and your choice.

I do prefer something under a plate or charger to soften the hardscape, and also to prevent scratches to a solid wood tabletop. You can bring color and personality to your table with the linens you use.

And folding napkins in to fun and unique shapes is always a pleasure for guests, and a great conversation starter as you gather around the table.

Pink. Gingham. Monograms. Sigh… this just makes my heart smile. Source unknown.

#10 – Art & Accessories

This is completely dictated by the Style of the room.

Whether you choose a single bold statement of art, a plate collection displayed on a hutch, or other accessories that reflect the personality of you and your dining room, strategic placement will allow each of them to shine individually as well as bring a cohesive look to your dining room. Just remember… what goes out must be dusted!

With two dining tables lined up together, the focal point down the wall was a piece of art hung over their existing sideboard, flanked by new buffet lamps. Photography by Chris DeLoach.

Hanging art the homeowner already had in a new arrangement on the new blue color made it stand out in this custom log home.

And don’t forget WALLPAPER – I absolutely love wallpaper, and it can be a great piece of art in a dining room.

The combination of art, accessories, and wallpaper in this dining room from House Beautiful are perfect.

There is no time today to start planning your family’s perfect dining room. t’s time to clear the clutter from your little-used space and start planning some dinner parties. Invite your neighbors over. Host the Family Easter dinner this year.

I hope this little bit of dining room eye candy has inspired you to look at your space with not only fresh eyes, but with a checklist of items to consider when planning your perfect dining room.

Until next time… xoxo Crystal

Source: https://bluestonedecorating.com/10-elements-design-great-dining-room/

Dining Room – Kerley Family Homes

Learn How to Style a Dining Room That You and Your Guests Will Love

Your dining room is a versatile space and often a hub of activity. In a Kerley Family Home, it’s also designed to be convenient and beautiful. Among our floor plans, you will find several different dining room styles.

Some are designed as separate rooms, while others are part of the kitchen and living area. A few floor plans even include room for both – so you have ultimate flexibility. Before starting your new home search, have a look at some of the dining room setups you’ll find in Kerley Family Homes.

Then, contact us to schedule a tour where you can see them for yourself.

Formal Dining Room

Elegant and classic, a formal dining room is separate from the kitchen. Ours often look out into your welcoming entryway, such as this one in Overlook at Hamilton Mill.

Dining rooms in this style set a tone, whether it’s for dinner parties, family gatherings, or romantic meals. They keep the kitchen sight for guests and keep guests your prep space.

They can feature attractive accents as well, trey ceilings and stunning light fixtures.

Open Concept Dining/Kitchen

Right off the kitchen, an open concept dining room makes it easy to go from counter to table this one in River Rock. Anyone preparing food can easily interact with guests and family members in the dining room.

Once everything is ready, it’s a breeze to serve it all up – and countertops can even work as serving areas.

In many Kerley Family Homes, large islands sit in the center of the kitchen, providing even more convenient space to serve or dine.


Similar to an open concept kitchen/dining space, you will find convenience yet exclusivity with a neighboring dining room layout.

Instead of leading you into your living space, a neighboring dining space presents the opportunity to gather and eat without distraction.

While still offering serving ease, this dining room style makes for easy clean up and intimate family time around the table. You can find this dining space at our Ozora Lake community in Gwinnett County.

Combo Floor Plan

A number of floor plans feature both a small dining area to the side of the kitchen and a large formal dining area. This convenient dining area in Heritage at Kennesaw Mountain complements the larger dining room near the foyer.

This gives you the benefits of both, and plenty of flexibility to host as many guests as you want. Spend game day with a clear view of the living room from the kitchen and table space for all of your snacks.

Or enjoy an intimate dinner with friends in your separate dining room.

Find the Ideal Dining Room

In a Kerley Family Homes neighborhood, you’re sure to find a floor plan with a dining area that fits your lifestyle. We design our dining rooms with convenience and elegance in mind. Follow us on to see more inspired dining rooms, then contact us and schedule a tour. In a Kerley Family home, you’ll find style and value that fits your life.

Source: https://www.kerleyfamilyhomes.com/design-style-series-dining-room/

Dining Room Rules

Learn How to Style a Dining Room That You and Your Guests Will Love
Photo by Zeke Ruelas for EHD

Last week we debuted our “Living Room Rules” and due to popular demand, we decided to break down some of the ‘Dining Room’ rules you should be adhering to in your own home.

The purpose of these posts is not to give you hard rules to follow (or reprimand you if you don’t follow them) but more to give you guidelines that can assist you in helping the room feel as pulled together and harmonious as possible. Think of it as the cheat sheet for what your dining room should be doing.

As we mentioned last time, there are always exceptions to the rules but in order to break the rules… you gotta know them first. So let’s get into it. 

In case you need more design rules, check out: Bedroom Design Rules | Living Room Rules

Furniture Placement:

Photo by David Tsay for EHD

RULE: Give 30″ to 36″ of a walkway between large furniture pieces (if your dining room allows for it) if not then at least 18″-24″.

You know how when you are sitting on a flight and the flight attendant pushes that tiny little cart up the aisle basically bumping every single sleeping shoulder on her way up? Well, it’s not the flight attendants fault it is the space they have to move in.

Don’t let your dining room be that airplane aisle. Make sure you have at least 24″ of space all the way around your dining room table so that people can move freely around it without having to bump everyone at the dinner party on their way to use the powder room.

Photo by Zeke Ruelas for EHD

RULE: Give about 24″ of space per person for maximum comfort and food enjoyment.

Here is a seat guideline for rectangle tables depending on size:

  • 48″long table: seats 4
  • 60″-72″ table: seats 6
  • 80″-87″ table: seats 8
  • 92″-108″ table: seats 10
  • 120″ table: seats 12

And for round tables depending on size:

  • 42″-48″ diameter table seats 4
  • 60″ diameter table seats 6-8

Similar to the last one. Rather than for the space around your table, this is for the space at your table. This isn’t a grade school cafeteria where you are all shoved on a table trying to scarf down your food. So, give your family and guests enough room to sit comfortably at their seat and not be curious which water is theirs because they are all so close together.

Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

RULE: Chairs should be able to slide under the table with ease with or without arms. Ideally, there should be 7″ between the chair arm and apron of the table but that’s not a hard rule. Just for your reference dining chair seats are usually 18″-19″ high and dining tables are typically 30″ high.

This will not only help with flow when the chairs are empty and you need to move around the table, but it also helps those people that need to pull their chair in (little kids) easier accessibility to the table when they are eating.

Photo by Bethany Nauert for EHD

RULE: This one is more of a guideline than a hard rule. The back height of your chair should be similar in scale to your table.

For example, if you have a small round 36″ table you should stay away from a super large scale 4′ tall dining chair because it’s going to look really off.

In terms of how short is preferred it doesn’t really matter as much as long as scale-wise it looks right to the table and room. Benches are a great option and have no back:)

This rule can be broken and technically still look good, but use your best judgment when it comes to proportions between your chair and dining table and don’t make the chairs too tall for the size of the table.


Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

RULE: Allow at least 36″ from the edge of your table to the edge of the rug. The average dining table will need a rug that’s at least 8′ wide. This let’s gives you room to pull out your chairs without falling off the rug.

Not every dining room needs a rug, but if you do have one make sure there is plenty of room to pull the chairs in and out without having the chair half on and half off the rug.

Photo by David Tsay for EHD

RULE: Give at least 12″ between the rug and wall if you have the space.

Rugs are rugs, not wall to wall carpet, so make sure that there is some breathing room between the rug and the walls so that it doesn’t feel too tight in there.

Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

SUGGESTION: Flatweave rugs are in our opinion the best choice for dining rooms. They are the easiest to move chairs around on as well as clean. If you don’t want a flatweave then tufted or low-pile rugs can also work. We just suggest avoiding shags and thick piles. They will catch everything that falls off the table and are much harder to clean.


Photo by David Tsay for EHD

RULE: Pick a chandelier about half the width of your dining table. You can also is to add the room’s length and width in feet. That number in inches suggests an approx. size for the diameter of your chandelier. So if you have a 10′ x 12′ room your chandelier should be about 22″ in diameter.

Having the right scale light above your table will help the entire space to feel more pulled together. Unless your fixture is a more abstract or sculptural piece – stick with something that is to scale with the size of the table, otherwise, your room could feel overpowered by the fixture.

Photo by David Tsay for EHD

RULE: Center a chandelier or pendant on the table, not the room.

You would think this is obvious enough, but we are including it just so that it is clear. If you do have a junction box that is off-centered to where your dining table is then either swag the chandelier over or have the junction box moved so that the light is directly over the table.

Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

RULE: Hang your light fixture so the bottom is 30″-36″ above the table. This way no one’s vision is blocked and everyone can see each other:)

You don’t want to feel you’re in an interrogation room with the light directly overhead, and you also don’t want to lose all sense of atmosphere. So keeping your light at the right distance from your table will help both worlds to work well together.

Photo by Sara Tramp for EHD

RULE: For rectangular chandeliers give at least 6″ from the edge of the table to chandelier on both sides.

Your chandelier should never go past the edge of your table in any direction. Anything bigger than your table and the room could feel top heavy.

Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

RULE: For multiple pendants above a dining table we recommend hanging them about 26 to 28 inches apart.

If you choose to do a few different pendants or a row of pendants above your table this rule will help you to space them so that they don’t feel too close and claustrophobic next to each other. It will also help the light to diffuse evenly around the room rather than in one spot.

Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

RULE: Place wall sconces between 5′ to 6′ up from the floor. If using multiple sconces in dining room (or any room) space them ideally 48″ apart but at least 24″-36″.

This rule not only is for aesthetics but also helps to keep the light bouncing around the room evenly so that you don’t end up with any dark corners.


Photo by Zeke Ruelas for EHD

RULE: Your console table or credenza should be at least the same height as your dining table but ideally higher.

When you enter into a room, your eye wants to see the surfaces that objects are displayed on so having your credenza slightly taller than the height of your table will help things to feel proportional and well placed.


Photo by Mike Garten for EHD

RULE: Art, whether it’s one piece or a gallery wall, should be at least 2/3rds the size of the side of the table it’s on but typically not any larger than the table.

This rule can be broken, but typically any sort of art on the walls will look best if it is slightly more narrow than the length of your table. If your collection extends beyond it, the proportions in the room can start to feel off.


Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

RULE: Keep centerpieces 15″ or lower so again everyone can see each other across the table.

This isn’t a gala, save the crazy centerpieces or floral arrangements for a party. When you are seated at the table you don’t want to have to try and peer around a centerpiece to see who you are sitting across from. And, last but not least and EHD suggestion when styling…

Photo by Tessa Neustadt for EHD

SUGGESTION: An EHD personal rule is to never have a tablecloth on a table unless the table is set. Instead, use a table runner for everyday casual use if you need something on your table.

Let us know if you have any other questions or things that are confusing you when it comes to dining room layout and design, and let us know which room you want us to talk about next.

Check out the rest of our design rules: Bedroom Design Rules | Living Room Rules

Source: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/dining-room-rules

How to Style Your Dining Room in 6 Easy Steps

Learn How to Style a Dining Room That You and Your Guests Will Love

So you’ve decided it’s time to update your dining room, or maybe you just moved into a new home and are starting from scratch. Either way, I’ve got you covered with six easy steps you can follow to style your dining room! I will take you on a step-by-step journey of how I styled the design above.

Hint: you can follow these steps when designing ANY room … not just your dining room!

Affiliate links are used in this post for your shopping convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


Pinterest offers a wealth of information on just about anything … but it is especially useful in finding home decor ideas! Create a Pinterest board filled with photos of room designs, textures, colors, patterns, and materials that you love. You can see my Pinterest Dining Room board here.

Once your board is complete, look for common threads in the photos to determine the design aesthetic you are going for. This is useful in designing ANY room; not just your dining room!


A focal point can be something you already own or something you want to buy for the space. It can be a unique piece of wall art, a family portrait, or an artistic light fixture to name a few examples. The opportunities are endless!

The focal point for this dining room design is the bold black and yellow patterned wallpaper. I love the Anthropologie Dorie wallpaper and think it is the perfect statement piece in this otherwise neutral dining room!

If you choose to add wallpaper, covering just one wall not only creates a focal point, but it saves a TON of money in both product and hanging fees! It also saves a TON of time if you plan to hang the paper on your own!

Anthropologie Dorie Wallpaper


I chose this neutral Serena and Lily Rug to anchor the room. You can see the gorgeous texture in the photo below! If you choose a solid rug to use in your dining room, try to find one with a little bit of texture or very minimal pattern that resembles texture.

If you do not have pattern on your wall, the dining room is a great place to add a patterned rug because the rest of the room tends to remain very neutral. A unique or bold rug can serve as your focal point!

Serena and Lily Rope Rug


I started this dining room design with these gorgeous Balboa chairs from Serena and Lily.

I absolutely love this style of chair … but they are a SPLURGE! Because they are more expensive, I chose a less expensive table and chandelier to offset the price of these investment pieces of furniture (an investment piece is one you love and are willing to splurge on because you will it keep for years!). I added some beautiful, lower cost chair alternatives in Shop the Post below.

Balboa Arm Chair

When choosing furniture, consider how you will use your dining room. If children will eat in there, you want to stick to child-friendly or dark fabrics … or just stay away from upholstered items altogether!

If you plan to entertain in your dining room often, choose a table that can hold up to wear and tear. In other words … don’t choose a table that is so delicate you get nervous any time someone sets a water cup on it!

Choose your table and chairs first and then move on to accent pieces such as your buffet. You don’t need to buy all your furniture from one store. Take your time and find unique pieces that complement each other but aren’t the exact same wood or texture!

My Dining Room 


Now it is time to choose the finishing touches that really add drama to the space!

I actually have this exact West Elm Capiz Chandelier hanging in my dining room! Not only is it GORG, it is also a great price (under $400) … and even lower when West Elm offers a promo!

The simple white drapes with studded detail add a touch of sophisticated glam against the dark patterned wallpaper!

To add more texture, I placed the charcoal faux fur pillows on the arm chairs. I implemented an organic component with the simple glass vase of faux flowers from Pottery Barn to complete the look.


Last but not least, choose your paint color.

You don’t want your paint color to determine your color palette; you want your design to determine your color palette and your paint to complement the design.

There are two tricks I to use when choosing a paint color:

  1. Purchase the smallest sample available of your top 3-5 color choices. Purchase 3-5 pieces of Poster Board (or you can use drywall remnants if you have some) and paint each piece a different color. Tape the Posters to the wall (or rest against the wall) and  leave there for a couple of days. See the various colors in different lighting before making a decision.
  2. Tint your primer to the paint color you want to use. This will give you a good idea of how the color will look on your walls. If you hate the tinted primer, you still have time to change your mind and find a different paint color!

If you have an open floor plan, you can keep the cohesive look of the same paint color you use in the main spaces of your home.

A note re: the design board … the wall color is NOT a paint color; it is simply a color from my Photoshop program.

When following these steps, keep in mind that you ALWAYS want to measure before purchasing any furniture or accent pieces. Quick tip: draw out the basic floor plan of your room on graph paper (one foot per square) and then draw in the furniture to scale and ensure it fits. It is helpful to map out items in the room with Painter’s Tape.

There are also many apps and computer programs that allow you to “see” how furniture fits in a room. My fellow blogger, Tamara, has a great article here.

I hope this post gives you some guidance and confidence to style your dining room on your own! If you are busy and want a little decorating assistance, I am happy to help! You can see what services I offer HERE!

Source: https://carolineondesign.com/style-dining-room-5-easy-steps/